Quinces. Comfort food on a cool Autumn night. It's May, and I've only just discovered quinces for the first time at the supermarket, thanks to a tip off from our friend Paul, and I marvel at the transformation which takes place in the kitchen when they are baked or poached. The flesh of this yellow and knobbly fruit changes within a few hours to a deep ruby red colour, with an intense, Middle Eastern flavour, filling the kitchen with an intoxicating fragrance of cinnamon and star anise. After all, this fruit originated from exotic Persia (Iran) in the Middle East, and belongs to the same family as the Rose, the Rosaceae family, being also related to apples and pears. That is some pedigree.The Portuguese for quince is marmello,which evolved into the word marmalade in the English and French language.
|Ripening quinces on the tree|
The harvesting period for quinces is from March to May. As I can't consider successfully growing them here in the subtropics/tropics, I'll need to preserve some, use some of the cooked quince in a cake, as well as producing some homemade quince paste.
This recipe for slow roasted quinces has resulted in 6 delectable soft fleshed quinces, and a uniquely flavoured sweet pink syrup which can be stored for a couple weeks in the fridge. It is adapted from Matthew's recipe in the latest edition of Feast magazine. He grows his own quinces in Tasmania.
2 kg quinces (about 6)
150g (2/3 cup) caster sugar
2 tbsp. honey
1 cinnamon quill
2 strips lemon rind
2 star anise
- Preheat oven to 160deg.C. Wash the quinces and pat dry. Place them in a roasting pan, or deep cake pan, and cover with 400ml water. Sprinkle over the sugar, drizzle the honey over the fruit, then add the remaining ingredients to the pan.
- Cover tightly with aluminium foil and roast for 3 hours or until quinces and cooking syrup are a deep, ruby-pink colour.
|Cooked whole quinces before slicing open|
Quince syrup after quinces have been removed from the pan.
3. Remove quinces from pan and strain syrup into a sterilised jar. Both of these should keep in the fridge for a couple of weeks.
|Bottled quince syrup|